The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH has been working in Timor-Leste on behalf of the German Government since 2000. GIZ currently employs around 50 staff in this country, including 12 national and 40 international personnel. The GIZ office in the capital Dili opened in 2012.
Timor-Leste is one of the poorest countries in South-East Asia. In 1975, it declared independence, ending Portuguese colonial rule, but was annexed by Indonesia the same year. After a referendum in 1999, which produced an overwhelming majority in favour of independence, pro-Indonesian militia forces and the Indonesian army destroyed much of the country’s infrastructure, and more than 1,000 people lost their lives. After intervention by the United Nations, Timor-Leste finally achieved independence on 20 May 2002.
The World Bank classes Timor-Leste as a lower middle-income country. Despite high revenues from oil and gas extraction, half its people live below the national poverty line. The rural regions are home to around three-quarters of its population of more than one million; outside the capital, however, the infrastructure is inadequate. Most rural dwellers scrape a living from subsistence agriculture. There are very few jobs available in the formal economy. As a result, many people – particularly the young – are migrating out of the rural regions. The legacy of the Indonesian occupation still poses challenges for society.
Timor-Leste’s Strategic Development Plan recognises peacebuilding as an important cross-cutting topic. In this context it places particular emphasis on addressing the needs of socially marginalised groups and creating employment in rural areas.Cooperation between Germany and Timor-Leste focuses on peacebuilding. GIZ supports the efforts being made by the Government of Timor-Leste to promote social cohesion and peaceful development. Priority areas of cooperation are:
- Employment promotion for marginalised groups in rural areas
- Vocational training, youth development and the fight against corruption.
Other projects focus for example on providing advisory services and training in the maritime sector and on climate change.
Development cooperation between Timor-Leste and Germany
Projects and Programmes
Security, reconstruction and peace
Environment and climate change
Economic development and employment
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